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New Zealand Herald

Waitara Shooting - Witch Discrimination - Team Nz - Drug And Alcohol Centre - Sfo Prosecuting - Murder Charge - West Coast Sweetner - Penrose Racism - Small Plane Crash - Hot Pool Warning - Herion Trafficker - Waitara Shooting - Cervical Inquiry - Varroa Mite

WAITARA SHOOTING: WAITARA - A witness to the police shooting in Waitara says Steve Wallace was not armed when five shots were fired into his body. The witness, who was standing just metres away, said the 23-year-old threw down his softball bat and golf club shortly after the police confronted him.

WITCH DISCRIMINATION: HAMILTON - A self-styled witch has been prevented from setting up a new shop in Hamilton by a regional council worried about bad publicity. But religious and legal experts said last night that the eviction could be illegal discrimination on grounds of religion.

TEAM NZ: Team New Zealand syndicate leaders were last night relaxed about keeping the team together in the face of big-money offers from America's Cup rivals. Helmsman Dean Barker, hero of the final Cup defence race, has reportedly been offered up to $3.2 million to jump ship, but he says he will be loyal and urged his fellow sailors not to rush out and sign other deals.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL CENTRE: Police are investigating a West Auckland drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre after reports that criminals have been absconding from it. The Herald has details of three cases in which defendants bailed into the care of Henderson-based Serenity House Trust either never arrived or left without police being informed.

SFO PROSECUTING: The Serious Fraud Office is prosecuting a former Tainui executive and a former bank officer over a $24 million property deal involving five central Hamilton buildings. Name suppression has been lifted in the case against Craig John Beecroft and Blair Ainsworth Kirk, which is set down for a two-month defended hearing starting in the Auckland District Court in September.

MURDER CHARGE: A Massey man faces a High Court trial for allegedly bashing his partner's 3-year-old child to death with a fence post after the boy soiled himself in bed. Genesis James Mahanga, aged 32, appeared in the Waitakere District Court yesterday charged with murder.

WEST COAST SWEETNER: WELLINGTON - The Government has sweetened its compensation offer to the West Coast over the end of native beech logging, lifting its $100 million package by $20 million. It is likely the extra money will be split among the region's local authorities, partly as compensation for their loss of rating revenue through big chunks of the West Coast being tied up as conservation estate.

PENROSE RACISM: An Auckland shopkeeper has banned all students from the local high school from entering his bakery. Michael Kuoy of Ellerslie claims Penrose High School students do not just steal drinks from his fridge, they taunt him with racist abuse as well.

SMALL PLANE CRASH: KAITAIA - A farmer says a small plane was flying unusually low before it made a sudden turn and crashed into a steep gully near Kaitaia yesterday, killing the pilot. The Victa Airtourer went down 6km northeast of the town just after 9 am.

HOT POOL WARNING: ROTORUA - Health authorities will today continue replacing warning signs at hot pools and geothermal springs after a 10-year-old child contracted amoebic meningitis in a pool near Rotorua. Public health officials say the organism that causes amoebic meningitis can be present in geothermal pools at any time and they are warning people not to put their heads under the water.

HERION TRAFFICKER: Auckland apartment block residents have forced the removal of a monitoring box that helped authorities to keep tabs on the accused heroin trafficker Hing Hung Wong, who is under house arrest in their building. A spokesman for the block's body corporate, which is fighting to have Wong evicted from the building, said the unit was removed on Friday.

WAITARA SHOOTING: The screech of car wheels woke Jim Wallace just after 3 am on Sunday. Like any father, he must have been relieved to hear his son return home safe after a night out with friends at the popular New Plymouth nightclub the Mill.

CERVICAL INQUIRY: A prominent public health specialist has called for a new investigation into the medical history and diagnosis of Gisborne women caught up in the current cervical cancer scandal. Professor David Skegg of Otago University has told a ministerial inquiry he believes a study of 40 cases of invasive cervical cancer in the Gisborne region, reported to the Cancer Registry since 1990, should be carried out as soon as possible.

VARROA MITE: Gauging the spread of the invading Varroa bee mite will cost about $2 million, while eradicating the pest, now confirmed in wild bees, could exceed $50 million. Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said the cabinet had committed a further $1.35 million to determine the spread of the infestation - an exercise which has cost nearly $1 million in just three weeks.

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